Iran’s Relationship With Qatar Could Be Crumbling

    Romany Shaker

    Security, Middle East

    A coordinator walks past a Turkish flag and flags of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) before a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

    Qatar has sought to enjoy the benefits of maintaining a membership in the GCC and close relations with Iran. Now those efforts are working against the Middle East nation.

    Tensions between the Gulf states and Qatar developed into an outright feud last June as a result of Qatar’s drift toward Iran, which led the Saudis and their partners to impose a boycott and cut off air, sea, and land routes to Qatar. Instead of responding positively to a demand that it cut ties with Tehran, Qatar defiantly restored full diplomatic relations with Iran. Now, the battle between Qatar and the quartet of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia has broken out on a new front: Dueling media coverage of the protests in Iran, with Qatar taking the side of the regime and the quartet backing the protesters.

    “Iranian youths will no longer accept suffering and starvation, while the murderers and terrorist mercenaries of the regime are enjoying the wealth of the Iranian people,” wrote Ahmad al-Jarallah, editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Seyassah.

    Abdul Rahman al-Rashed, a prominent Saudi media figure with close ties to the royal court, wrote in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, “The Iranian people harbor a genuine hatred for the regime.” Meanwhile, Al-Sayyed Zahra, columnist for the Bahraini daily Akhbar Al-Khalij, opined that the uprising of the Iranian people dealt a “fatal blow” to the Qatari strategy of aligning itself with the Iranian project in the region. Zahra also hoped the events in Iran will awaken the Qatari regime and make it return to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) fold.

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